Australia Set to Vote on Legalizing RU 486, Democrat Admits Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Set to Vote on Legalizing RU 486, Democrat Admits Abortion Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 8, 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — As the Australia parliament is set to vote on whether to legalize the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug, Australian Democrats leader Lyn Allison, who is the lead sponsor of the effort, admitted she has had an abortion before.

The Australia Senate will be voting on a bill that would shift the decision for legalizing the drug from pro-life Health Minister Tony Abbott to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Abbot, after consulting with the nation’s top doctor, decided not to allow the drug, which has killed eight people worldwide, to be used.

Senators have already begun an emotional debate with some speaking from personal experience about how abortion has affected their lives.

Allison told parliament she had an abortion and government minister Nick Minchin admitted a former girlfriend aborted their child.

"An estimated one in three women have had an abortion and I am one of those," Allison told MPs.

Minchin told lawmakers, "I bring to this debate personal experience in that a former girlfriend of mine had an abortion when we were in a monogamous relationship, and I cannot divorce that experience in my life from this consideration."

Because the vote is a conscience vote, and lawmakers will not be bound to vote the will of their parties, a Senate committee report on the matter did not recommend an up or down vote.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard has said he will not support the legislation, which is expected to pass. He said there was a good reason to leave the decision in Abbot’s hands.

"This is not an argument fundamentally about abortion," he explained. He said he didn’t want the decision on something so monument to be placed in the hands of people who are not accountable to voters.

His taking a position could affect how the parliament votes and there is some speculation the pro-abortion measure would win in the Senate but lose in the House.

Last night, two Liberal senators made last-minute changes to the bill which would effectively give parliament the last word on whether to legalize the abortion drug, meaning the TGA could disapprove of the drug’s use and it could still be made legal.